Friday, May 29, 2009

Joey's Birth Story

I thought this blog ought to begin with Joey's birth story. I originally wrote out his birth story for Julie Hurst and the other mothers in the prenatal Yoga class I attended throughout my pregnancy with Joey.

My due date was March 16, 2009 but baby Joey, decided to make his debut into the world five weeks early. On Sunday, February 8, 2009 at about 8:00 a.m., I was getting out of bed to use the bathroom. While sitting on the edge of the bed I coughed and thought I peed myself. Unfortunately this was not an uncommon occurrence during my pregnancy. However, it was not pee… it continued to drip as I shuffled to the bathroom and I realized that my water had probably broken. I say probably because this was my first pregnancy and I had nothing to compare what I was experiencing to. At this point I was not feeling any contractions and had not experienced any other signs that labor was impending. …so I took a shower and called the hospital. They of course told us to come on in. I remember thinking thank god we would not be playing the -go to the hospital and be sent home (several times) because it was too early in the labor- game that I know is typical of first time moms. We got to the hospital around 9:30 a.m. The triage nurse took one look at my amniotic fluid-soaked pants (the pad I had on was doing little good) and admitted me without any further examination.

By now I was feeling very light contractions but was not experiencing any pain. Because my membrane had ruptured 5 weeks preterm, I had not yet been checked for the Beta Strep, so they started an IV and gave me antibiotics. The plan was to let me labor a while to see how things progressed. To my surprise I was allowed to order something to eat and just relaxed, watching the movies Dumb & Dumber (of all things) and then City of Angels while Tony ran home to pack a bag for us. As my due date was 5 weeks away, we had not yet packed a bag for the hospital. We were too freaked out when my water broke that morning to take the time to gather anything before heading to the hospital.

By 1:00 my contractions were still not very strong. They had not checked me for dilation because they did not want to introduce any bacteria but merely continued to monitor me and the baby with external monitors. At around 2:00 that afternoon the doctor started me on Pitocin and suggested I walk a little bit. Pitocin is evil stuff. Almost immediately I began to experience painful contractions. I nonetheless managed to walk up and down the hall for about an hour. I returned to my room. By 4:00 I was ready to vomit or cry with each contraction. At this point I begged for the anesthesiologist. Despite my joking throughout my pregnancy that I wanted the epidural in the parking lot, I had decided to ride it out as long as possible before getting the epidural. I was finally checked for dilation at this time and was only about 4 cm. After another hour of excruciating pain (waiting for the anesthesiologist’s assistant to give me the spiel about risks which have never in their experience occurred) I got the epidural.

At around 7 p.m. I was now about 6 cm dilated, but Joey’s heart rate began to drop with each contraction. They gave me oxygen and had me lay on my side to help, however around 8:30 p.m. the nurse came back in and said that the doctor (who had been monitoring my contractions and Joey’s heart rate on the computer down the hall) wanted to take me back immediately for a c-section. That had to be one of the most frightening things I had ever experienced. I immediately began shaking like a leaf and did not stop until about an hour after Joey was delivered.

Joey was born at 9:24 p.m. that night. Despite being 5 weeks premature he was 7 pounds 5 ounces and 19 inches in length. Thank goodness he was early!!! The reason for the decelerations in his heart rate was that the cord was coiled up near Joey’s head. He was also delivered holding the cord in his fist. I guess he wanted out badly. Joey nonetheless appeared healthy at this point. No one said anything to us about Down syndrome and because of my and my husband's relative lack of exposure to newborns, we did not think he looked like anything other than our beautiful baby boy. After recovering, we were taken to a room. Joey was examined and, seemingly healthy, was allowed to stay the night in my room. It was a sleepless night for me. I layed there listening to him breath. Unable to get out of bed, I was afraid he would stop breathing and I would be unable to help him. At this point he had not really eaten anything. Although we tried he would not breast feed. No one attributed it to anything other than him being a preemie.
The next post will cover Joey's Diagnosis and Surgery... It is going to take me a few months to catch Joey's blog up to the present day but at least we have gotten started.

For more info on the prenatal yoga class I attended, which was absolutely wonderful, go to

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our First Official Post

This Blog is dedicated to our beautiful baby boy Joseph Anthony Villacres "Joey." It is my sincere hope that by educating people about Down syndrome there will someday be a reduction in the number of abortions following prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. We cannot imagine life without this little guy... he is our world and it's only been four months. I cannot wait for the rest of the journey with this amazing baby!